Fleetwood’s Wes Newton will begin his first BDO Lakeside World Professional Darts Championship campaign against one of its old stagers.
Newton, 41, plays his first-round match in the 42nd BDO showpiece on the opening day of the tournament at Lakeside Country Club in Frimley Green, Surrey.
His opponent on Saturday will be Basingstoke-based Paul Hogan, not surprisingly nicknamed ‘Crocodile Dundee’, who has played on the BDO circuit since 1995. The 55-year-old has twice reached the last eight in this event.
Newton is a three-time quarter-finalist in the PDC world championship but lost his tour card in 2017 and joined the BDO in March.
His match-up with Hogan will be the first match of Saturday’s evening session, starting at 7pm.
The nine-day tournament will be televised live on Eurosport and Quest.
Michael van Gerwen and Michael Smith will meet in the final of the PDC’s 2018/19 William Hill World Darts Championship tonight after claiming semi-final victories at London’s Alexandra Palace.
The penultimate day of the £2.5m event saw dazzling performances from Van Gerwen and Smith, who recorded wins over Gary Anderson and Nathan Aspinall respectively.
A replay of the 2018 Premier League Final, tonight’s showdown will be the first World Championship final since 1983 to feature two players under 30 years of age, with the winner walking away with the £500,000 top prize and the Sid Waddell Trophy.
Van Gerwen secured a thumping 6-1 success over Anderson in a replay of the 2016/17 final which saw two-time World Champions collide.
A dominant display from world number one Van Gerwen began with him finding double top in the deciding leg of the opening set to edge ahead, before the Dutchman won 12 of the next 13 legs to take a 5-0 lead in a relentless onslaught.
Anderson found double 12 with his last dart in the deciding leg of set six to prevent a whitewash, only for Premier League champion Van Gerwen to take the next set 3-1, taking out 90 to secure a stunning victory.
Van Gerwen ended the tie with a 104.76 average and said: “I think I played really well, Gary couldn’t find his form and I took advantage of that.
“The pressure I put on Gary meant he wasn’t at his best. I didn’t give him any time to breathe with my finishing. It’s going to be a phenomenal final between Michael and myself. I’ve got a great record against him and I’m looking forward to it.
“I’m working hard week after week, so I’m glad that I was able to produce my best game on this occasion.”
Smith reached his first World Championship final with a 6-3 triumph over surprise package Aspinall, breaking the record for the most 180s hit in a World Championship semi-final with 17. A stunning display from Smith, who ended the match with a 105.22 average, began with him taking the opening seven legs of the contest before debutant Aspinall produced a gutsy fightback to level at 2-2 and 3-3.
World number 10 Smith regained the lead and doubled his advantage thanks to back-to-back 12-dart legs in the eighth set.
The Shanghai Darts Master didn’t drop another leg and sealed a memorable win with a 121 checkout, his fifth ton-plus finishg.
“I’ve never felt like that during or after a match ,” said Smith, whose previous best World Championship performance saw him reach a quarter-final.
“I’m now just one step away from living my dream.”
Tonight final begins at 8pm and will be broadcast on the Sky Sports Darts channel.